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Definition of a scratch golfer - Page 2

post #19 of 23
Originally Posted by jsp9999 View Post


What visible differences between you and your buddy are there?  It seems you are very accomplish already, then what separates his skills vs. yours?  Ball striking, short games within 100 yd, chipping, putting, different shot making, etc or all of above and beyond?   Is your pro friend in pga tour or web.com tour?  If not, does your friend say his skills are not up to the par to those guys?  I'm always curious about this topic.  I watch pga games on tv and I know they are good.  Just can't wrap my head around to fathom how good they are since I play with mostly weekend rough riders and tree huggers


Well to start, he is about 30 yards longer than me. That's not a requirement to be at his level, but it does obviously help because he's quite accurate. I would say he hits more fairways than I do and I pride myself on drive accuracy, but he is also significantly longer than I am. I am not extremely long though, usually between 260 and 270. I'd say he's 280-290 on an average drive, but can swell up on one when he needs to go longer at the expense of accuracy. His game is just very consistent and well rounded. Probably the most impressive part is his iron play. Anything that is a 6 iron or below RARELY misses the green, and anything 9 iron or below is usually a very makeable birdie opportunity. Anything with a wedge is a miss if it's outside 10-15 feet. Putting is probably the worst part of his game, but it's still well above average in terms of amateur standards. He's not the best putter I know, but he's probably top 5 and that's with me saying it's the weakest part of his game.


The one surprising part is that he cannot shape the ball very well laterally, but he can vertically. He can hit a low penetrating shot into the wind, or he can hit it high so that it lands soft on the green. However, he pretty much is strictly a draw player and this hurts him at times. He really struggles to fade the ball, but has a subtle draw with most clubs that he can control very well. I would say that I can actually shot-shape better than he can in terms of hitting different shots, but his control and consistency is more refined than mine.


He spent a couple years right after he got out of college traveling around the country trying to make it on tour but couldn't make it, and eventually the expenses caught up with him and he had to let it go. Now he plays as a pro locally, but by locally I mean within about a 5-6 hour radius from where we live. He travels to the big tournaments to play in the pro division and makes some decent money at it, though definitely nothing comparable to playing on pga or winning on the web.com. He does give his PGA dream a go every year though by going to a couple qualifiers. In fact, he tees off today in a qualifier for the U.S. Open. He's made it to the sectional before, but has never qualified to play in the Open. I'm hoping he's able to put together a solid round today. He will openly admit though that his game is a definite step below the PGA guys. He has played with Russ Cochran several times before, along with some other pros from Kentucky, but he says these guys are "magicians" when it comes to short iron play.


I don't mean to make him sound like a world beater because he's not. I can actually beat him from time to time, but it's not often and never if he plays well. It does put into perspective how good these guys on tour are though. As good as he is, he still isnt' good enough to even make it. In terms of his skills vs mine, if you watched us on one hole you may not notice much of a difference between us except in length. However, if you were to average everything out, every shot he hits is a bit better than every shot I hit, and over the course of a round/month/season you can see that his game is on another level than mine.

post #20 of 23
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

don't understand why the distance component is in the definition.      I can get on in 2 on a par 4, 470 yd hole .... and I'm nowhere close to being considered a long hitter, and miles away from scratch.      Being scratch to means someone who just doesn't make mistakes, and when they do, recovers from them to salvage the hole.    They are ... PAR MACHINES


Furthermore ... to a scratch golfer, par is expected - every time, every hole.    For every bogie, they have to get a birdie to balance it out & be scratch - think about that for a reality check.

If "scratch" was only awarded to players playing from the tips on 7,000 yard courses I would put some stock in a distance requirement...But it's not.


There are scratch players that are very accurate, very consistent, and with great short games that never play from the tips and wouldn't be able to handle some of the forced carries if they did.


I'm sure those distances are intended as averages and as such they are probably very accurate.


P.S. I expect to make a birdie - "every time, every hole" but the results show I'm delusional. There's always tomorrow though so there's always a chance I will justify my expectations. :-D 

(BTW tongue in cheek)

post #21 of 23
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

don't understand why the distance component is in the definition.


Because it's only relevant for rating courses. They need some kind of guideline to allow distance to affect a course rating for various skill levels and the locations of hazards, etc.

post #22 of 23

I've always thought of a scratch golfer as someone who shoots right around par.  I've never factored into the equation how far they can hit the ball. Scratch = par avg IMO.

post #23 of 23

When I quit due to some medical issues about 8 or 9 years ago I do so when I reached my goal of getting my handicap card in the mail and it having a 0 on it. It was bittersweet as I'd accomplished a goal that took about 3 years of really hard work...after working hard on my game for 5-6 years before that.


I'll be 50 this year and was in my early 40's when I got to a 0, I picked up the clubs again and have worked my way down to a 2.9 as of this week. When I can back it didn't take long to be at a 5.2, just a couple of rounds and hitting a bunch of balls.


My point for sharing this is when I got to a 0 I wasn't shooting par every time I went out. I'd suspect I shot even one out of every 3 or 4 rounds, the others were never above 3 over. I hovered around par on every round of golf I was playing no matter the course. I'd have really bad days and shoot a 79..right now my really bad days are 85 and my good days are even to 4 or 5 over.


I wasn't much difference then everyone else, I started as a hacker and played many years just figuring out the game, once I got to a 12 I got very serious with lessons and playing or hitting balls on a daily basis. Even now that I've been back playing since October it is rare that I don't swing by the course and hit a few balls or putts daily, I can get a bit OCD. Part of my progression to a zero was two fold, completely understanding the golf swing and analizing many many other players when watching golf. The other part was spending 2 years off and on taking lessons at the Hank Haney Golf Ranch in McKinney. I'd take at least one lesson a month, sometimes 2. After the two years of working on my swing it then took another year to get the technical thoughts out of my head and "trust it" to get to a zero.


Do I think anyone can get to a zero? No I don't, I think it takes a bit of OCD and some a fair amount of athletic ability. It is not about distance, I have never been a long hitter, sure hitting it 250 is not a problem but under "normal" conditions I'm not going to hit it 300..yea hard fairways a little wind and sure, a lot of people can do that. What I focused on was a golf swing that I knew I could keep the ball in play and a VERY GOOD short game. I wasn't a great putter but I could get up and down from just about anywhere and NEVER made double bogeys. My really good rounds were rounds I'd have 3-4 birdies and 3-4 bogeys. My bad rounds would be no birdies and 3-4 bogeys.


I'm confident I can get back to a 0 even at the age of 50, if I can get past some injuries (bad tennis elbow in left arm) and get the old bad habits out of my full swing I have no doubt I can get there again. 

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